According to MedicineNet, “Teenage depression does not have one single definitive cause but rather several psychological, biological, and environmental risk factors.” Depression affects many teenagers before they reach adulthood. According to an excerpt from “Mental Health, Adulthood,” depression is one of the most widely recognized disorders in the populace and is the absolute most psychiatric mental treatment. Holden Caulfield conveys depression throughout the book and can be seen by his inability to concentrate, not being understood, lack of motivation, and smoking to escape reality.
The inability to concentrate is a challenge depressives deal with. According to Everyday Health, depression, and lack of concentration are deeply connected. Many areas of the brain are used for the creation and retrieval of memories. Irregularities in any of these parts of the brain can cause a lack of concentration. A psychologist and behavior therapist, Natascha Santos, stated, “Research has suggested that processing speed — the ability to take in information quickly and efficiently — is impaired in individuals who are depressed.” Since people who have depression brains work in that particular way, it can cause many problems leading them to feel more isolated. As reported by Psychology Today, “Depression causes brain damage.”
Furthermore, depression causes a person to not focus on a certain task. If they’re trying to concentrate on a certain task while other things are happening around them, they tend to finish the task incomplete or below expectations. The inability to concentrate on tasks is a profound problem. Concentrating is a way people succeed, and if people do not help depressives deal with this obstacle, it would be inhumane. In The Catcher in the Rye, Holden drops out of school solely because he cannot concentrate. Although he is intelligent, he repeatedly flunks and decides to drop out. “The trouble was, I couldn’t concentrate too hot. Sometimes it’s hard to concentrate” (Salinger 220).
An example of this is when Holden had a difficult time concentrating on the discussion he was having with Phoebe. In the book, Holden’s younger brother passed away due to an illness and that deeply affected him. According to “The Social Readjustment Rating Scale,” when a person loses a close family member, they experience a high level of stress. The higher the level of stress, the higher the possibility a person might fall into depression. After the death of Holden’s brother, Holden became severely depressed. This is also a cause of his inability to concentrate. The inability to concentrate can cause many problems throughout a depressive life. Concentrating is a crucial task in succeeding and not being able to do that is upsetting and unfair.
However, that is not the only upsetting thing with people who have depression, they also deal with people misunderstanding them. Misunderstanding a person with depression can come off as negative. As stated by Psychology Today, “depression is shorthand for a debilitating syndrome – major depressive disorder – that robs people of their energy, their concentration, their memory, their restorative sleep . . . their ability to love and work and play.” Some people do not know the effects of depression and misunderstand the people who do have it. Individuals around them don’t take the time to ask how they’re doing even if they know they’re dealing with something. Nonetheless, Holden is misunderstood by almost everyone around him.
Holden mentions how people don’t notice the obvious. “I don’t give a damn, except that I get bored sometimes when people tell me to act my age. Sometimes I act a lot older than I am – I really do – but people never notice it. People never notice anything” (13). They don’t notice Holden’s emotions and how he feels. Holden thinks adulthood is phony and people misunderstanding him causes him to vastly protect other children from phony adulthood. People around him don’t notice that he is depressed and that eventually leads to people misunderstanding him. He notices how people perceive him and yet, those same people do not do the same in return. On the contrary, they push him aside leading Holden to feel more lonely and depressed.
Although being misunderstood is something people who deal with depression face, lacking motivation is another obstacle they face. According to University Health News, lack of motivation is a cause of depression. It is stated that, “If you’re experiencing a lack of motivation to do what you enjoy, it’s one of several signs of depression or other mood disorders.” The lack of motivation causes a person to become fatigued and, likewise, not concentrate. Lacking motivation is dreadful because motivation is needed to accomplish things in life. Motivation can be the answer to most situations, but if a depressed person cannot find that motivation, they will never overcome their depression. They need to find that motivation to move forward in life and do what they enjoy doing.
One of the essential causes of Holden’s lack of motivation concerns his psychological wellness. Holden has not genuinely or mentally recuperated from the horrible demise of his more youthful sibling, Allie. In chapter 5, Holden states, “I was only thirteen, and they were going to have me psychoanalyzed and all, because I broke all the windows in the garage. I don’t blame them. I really don’t. I slept in the garage the night he died, and I broke all the goddam windows with my fist, just for the hell of it. . . . It was a very stupid thing to do, I’ll admit, but I hardly didn’t even know I was doing it and you didn’t know Allie” (50). Holden was just thirteen years of age when his sibling passed away due to leukemia and has never recouped or appropriately lamented.
While Holden is at Pencey, he keeps on thinking back about Allie and even composes Stradlater’s arrangement about Allie’s baseball glove. Notwithstanding Holden’s intense subject matters originating from Allie’s sad passing, he has additionally seen a schoolmate commit suicide at Elkton Hills, which adds to his emotional well-being concerns. All of the traumatic events that happened in Holden’s life have caused him to fall into depression. Holden is not stable because of the deaths he has experienced at a young age. He is under intense pressure and he feels that. Although the lack of motivation comes from traumatic pasts, it is a battle that can be overcome.
Depressives find many ways to ease their depression. Some use smoking as an excuse to ease their nerves and escape reality. According to smokefree.gov, smokers are more likely to have depression. There is no clear answer as to why yet. In the article, it claims, “People who have depression might smoke to feel better.” Being addicted to smoking is not great because you isolate yourself from society and tend to become depressed. In The Catcher in the Rye, Holden smokes to split away from specific circumstances, that might be awkward, and issues that must be managed.
Holden much of the time utilizes smoking as an approach to isolate himself from individuals or challenges. ”I won’t. Where the hell’s my cigarettes?’ ‘On the desk.’ He never knew where he left anything. ‘Under your muffler.’ He put them in his coat pocket–my coat pocket’ (44). This is an example of when Holden was freaking out over his cigarettes. He becomes hostile towards his friend, Stradlater, but he does not know why. During this time, Holden’s younger brother, Allie, was still alive and Holden still had his innocence. His old friend, Jane, was being asked out by Stradlater and Holden felt uncomfortable. He smoked to ease his nervousness.
When Holden feels nervous or uncomfortable, he smokes to escape that situation. Smoking can cause both depression and health conditions. Although Holden does not consider these things, he is aware of his actions. He knows that he smokes to escape certain situations and not face his problems. Depressives, like Holden, smoke to escape certain situations they feel nervous in. Some are aware of its side effects and others are not. Holden is not aware of what smoking can do to him, but he does it to relieve his stress.
Holden Caulfield expressed many symptoms of depression, including, the inability to concentrate, lack of motivation, and smoking to escape reality. Depression could ruin one’s life and cause them to distance themselves from society. It can be treated in many ways, but depressives find other ways to treat it. Smoking is a way some people with depression ease their nervousness. Furthermore, depression causes people to lack motivation and does not allow them to concentrate. Lacking motivation can cause a person to fall behind in life and not succeed leading to an unhappy life.
Nonetheless, the inability to concentrate will also not allow a person to succeed. Holden’s family can help him with his depression in various ways. Taking the time to take him to therapy would be a good way to allow him to speak his mind and relieve tension. Relieving his tension would eventually help regulate his other symptoms. His lack of motivation and his inability to concentrate would become better. He would be able to talk about his problems and that would help him concentrate in school and become motivated. Depression causes many people to isolate themselves from others. They can become very lonely and sometimes even lead to suicide.